How Long is Too Long to Leave Guests Hanging?

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NEW YORK—Guests have a right to complain if hotel staff does not respond to their text requests in about 12 minutes, to emails in 26 minutes, and via social media in 27 minutes or less, according to research compiled by hotel service innovator ALICE.

ALICE commissioned the research to help hotels understand how to serve guests better at a time when text, email, and social media are quickly becoming the communication channels of choice for guests at upscale hotels and resorts. Excerpted for trend insights at the hotel industry’s Lodging Conference in Phoenix last week, the results were obtained in an online survey of more than 400 frequent travelers from across the U.S.

“Forbes Travel Guide and others routinely grade hotels according to their response times picking up the phone to answer a guest request, so isn’t it time we understand what online response times should be like as well?,” said Alex Shashou, co-founder and president of ALICE. “At a time when preferred modes of communication have shifted to online channels—and not just among millenials -, hotels would do well to consider how well their operations teams are receiving guest requests, processing them, and responding. At the end of the day, it is the same guest making the same request, just through a different channel”.

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The survey also found that guests who use mobile devices for other purchases, are 42.5 percent more likely to prefer using mobile communications when ordering food and beverage and prestay services, at hotels.